Families applauded at news of Hillsborough charges

Criminal charges have been brought against six individuals, including former senior police officers

Hillsborough disaster charges

Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Relatives of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster have reacted positively to the news that criminal charges are going to be brought against six individuals.

Barry Devonside, whose 18-year-old son Christopher was killed in the tragedy, pumped his fist as he emerged from a meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service in Warrington.

He said: "Everybody applauded when it was announced that the most senior police officer on that particular day will have charges presented to him.

"I was frightened we were going to be let down again. We have been smacked in the face on a number of occasions. The families have acted with the utmost of dignity."

Evelyn McDonnell Mills lost her brother Peter at the match in 1989.

"I'm really happy that we've finally got some charges after 28 years," she said.

Ms McDonnell Mills added that the CPS decision was tinged with sadness, as her brother Gerard has passed away without being able to see justice.

Politicians have also praised the "exemplary" campaign led by families of those who lost their lives at the FA Cup semi-final.

Theresa May told MPs in the Commons that she welcomes the fact that charging decisions have been made after "many years of waiting" for Hillsborough families.

The Prime Minister said: "I know from working closely with the families when I was Home Secretary that this will be a day of mixed emotions for them."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "This prosecution, the inquiry, and this development only happened because of the incredible work done by the Hillsborough Justice campaign.

"I think we should pay tribute to all of those who spent a great deal of time trying to ensure there was justice for those who died at Hillsborough."

The Liberal Democrats' shadow home secretary, Sir Ed Davey, expressed hope that the establishment has learned lessons from Hillsborough.

"Justice for the victims of the Hillsborough has been a slow and torturous process that has stained the reputation of our police," he said.

"The cover-up and lies have caused untold anguish for the families and it is right that those responsible will be forced to face justice."